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Highland Elementary to serve up healthy eating assembly
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 4/8/2009 12:09 AM

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Another healthy eating program coming to Highland Elementary in Elgin further solidifies the east side school's reputation as the "health nuts" of the state's second largest school district

The national award-winning theater group FoodPlay Productions will perform at the school April 17.

The program, which costs about $1,500 to produce, is funded by a grant from the Illinois Soybean Growers, Principal Steve Johnson said.

The theater group will present a skit about "Johnny Junkfood," a character who longs to become a juggling star, but is stopped short because of his poor diet.

Students will be reminded of the importance of breakfast, to balance their diets, to stay active, and to read labels to get the most nutritional value for their families money.

Illinois soybean farmers have partnered with the production group to present 20 assemblies this month.

The assembly will tie into several other healthy eating initiatives in which Highland is taking part.

The school last July netted a $17,000 healthy eating grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. It was the only Northwest suburban school to receive the grant.

Schools were chosen for the program based on the number of free and reduced price lunches provided, and its percentage of low income and minority students.

According to Johnson, about 74 percent of Highland's 526 students qualify for subsidized meals.

Highland, along with other Elgin Area School District U-46 schools, also participates in Activate Elgin, a citywide effort to improve the community's health and well-being.